FLORENCE TOWNSHIP, N.J. (AP) — A woman tried to drown her three teenage children by driving a van into a river, police said, but all four of them were rescued by a man who said he heard screaming from the partially submerged vehicle.
Joann Smith, 49, of Florence Township, was charged with three counts of attempted murder and child endangerment. She was being held on $600,000 bail, and it was not clear if she had a lawyer.
Authorities said Smith drove the van onto a boat ramp and into the Delaware River in Florence, about 20 miles northeast of Philadelphia, around 6:30 p.m. Tuesday.
Darnell Taylor said he and his wife were driving by when he noticed the van in the river. He told WCAU-TV that he got out of his car, heard screaming and jumped in the water.
“I couldn’t get the window open because the window in the van was not a pop-out window,” Taylor said Wednesday. “So I kept telling the young lady to kick the window out and she kicked it out.”
Smith’s children, two boys and a girl, are ages 13 to 15. One suffered leg cuts, police said.
Taylor recalled that Smith only said “Thank you” during the ordeal.
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